Now you have a location to search. You should gather up some supplies and head there, but not in a large group. Try to make sure the person most bonded with the dog is part of your group.
Here’s a list of useful supplies to bring:
- smelly treats (think hotdogs, liverwurst, canned cat food)
- water and bowls
- slip lead, regular leash and collar
- trail camera (or fireplace ashes or cornstarch)
When you arrive, don’t slam the car door! Stay calm – the dog will feel your nervous energy and may take off again. He could be in hiding watching you.
If you see the dog, the person who is most bonded with the him should sit or lie down by themselves, scatter tasty treats around themselves and WAIT. It may take minutes or hours for the dog to creep slowly closer. The dog may circle around and approach from behind. Put your phone on silent. Everybody else should keep their distance.
If you do not see the dog, don’t waste time driving around. Immediately go door to door and flyer – speaking with everyone. Call in more volunteers to help with this. If no one is home – leave a poster behind. Make sure you handwrite the date, time, and location of the sighting with as many specifics as possible. For example: “SEEN! 4 p.m. May 31 at the west edge of your property.” Make sure your flyers clearly state the nobody should call or chase the dog. Just call with information.
Before leaving the sighting area, leave food and water! Don’t bother with dry kibble – think smelly, scrumptious food. If you have a trail camera set it up facing the food so that you can see if the dog is approaching and eating when you aren’t there. If you don’t have a trail camera, sprinkle fireplace ashes or cornstarch around the bowls so that you can examine the area for tracks when you return.
Remember, when the lost dog’s needs are being met, he will start to let down his guard. He will start to trust people and return to a domesticated state of mind, and your chances of safely capturing him are greatly increased.